Nation e-Edition

Wife only wants me for a friend

Tue, November 16, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Dear Christine,

I would like your advice.

My wife decided that she was moving out because my son and I do not get along. I told myself her move was the best thing as it would stop the conflict between him and me from recurring given his drug habit. Of course, I still expected that my wife and I would be husband and wife even though we live apart. But she has other ideas.

My wife told me that though we can be friends, we can’t have an intimate relationship anymore, and she would not even let me kiss her. I asked her if she understands what we are because I cannot be a friend and not a husband. Then I asked her if she has a man.

To that she said no. Yet, when I try to kiss her she said to me, “What have I told you?”.

I have two things in mind: either she is going through menopause or she has a man. Before my wife left she was sleeping in another room in our house. I need a reason for one or the other.

– RH

Dear RH,

There was obviously a problem between you and your wife prior to her leaving as she was sleeping in another room separate from you. Therefore I don’t think your situation is as simple as her going through menopause or having a man.

It would be natural for you to have expectations of intimacy with your wife when she moved out as, based on what you are suggesting here, though she slept in a separate room the two of you still lived as husband and wife.

Given what you have said, it is clear to me that your wife wants out of the relationship with you, and this move may be the penultimate step in achieving this. As we are only hearing from you, we would not even try to guess her reasons for this.

What is obvious, though, is that there has been some measure of ongoing conflict in your household as a result of several factors: your son’s addiction, your relationship with him, your wife’s relationship with him, the impact of his problem on your marriage, and the problems that led to your wife sleeping apart from you.

It is not easy for parents to cope with their children’s drug addiction. This problem has caused splits in the closest of families as one parent wants to hold the child near, while the other thinks “tough love” tactics or abandoning of the child completely would be the best way to deal with the situation.

I suspect that a lot has happened in your household and relationship which led to this move by your wife. Her statement that she is willing to be friends only suggests she has resolved that your life as a couple is over.

If you hope to remain close to your wife and try, if she is willing, to seek a renewal in your relationship, you should accept her offer of friendship and genuinely try to build on it.

I must add that affection for someone is not necessarily expressed through sex. You seem to be a bit preoccupied with that. I suspect your wife needs companionship at this stage and not just sex. I truly hope this helps.

– Christine

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